The world celebrates a legend
On Nov. 20, the world lost one of its greatest magicians and Argentina mourned their son. The reaction to Diego Maradona’s death was much like how he lived his life—appreciation for his creativity and inevitable destruction.
By the time the news of death had reached Naples, Italy, where Maradona enjoyed the best parts of his playing career for Napoli from 1984-91 after coming from F.C. Barcelona, the mayor of Naples proposed to rename Napoli’s San Paolo stadium to Diego Armando Maradona stadium.
“He made our people dream, he redeemed Naples with his genius. In 2017 he became an honorary citizen. Diego, Neapolitan and Argentine, you gave us joy and happiness! Naples loves you!” Mayor Luigi de Magistris said.
Maradona’s most memorable moments on the football pitch came during the 1986 World Cup in Mexico. The Argentinian number 10 maestro captained his nation to victory in the World Cup after beating West Germany in the final. He would also win the Golden Ball, given to the tournament’s best player, but the true Maradona came to be seen by the world in the quarterfinal against England.
In the 2-1 victory over England, Maradona scored both goals. His first goal lives in infamy; as a ball was crossed into the box, the diminutive playmaker jumped for the ball and it looked as though he headed the ball into the back of the net. Replays would show that Maradona used his hand to punch the ball into the goal, but the goal would stand despite protests from English players and be known as the “Hand of God.”
For the second goal, Maradona would show off his sheer brilliance. He picked up the ball at midfield and dribbled 66 yards past five England defenders and scored with ease. It was voted “Goal of the Century” by FIFA.com voters in 2002.
Maradona’s inspirational creativity also had its downfalls. He was addicted to cocaine for more than two decades, including most of his playing career. He has been in and out of the hospital after his playing career due to being treated for hepatitis, the effects of alcohol abuse and undergoing surgery after a hernia cause internal bleeding of his stomach.
Despite his faults, his nation of birth loved him unreservedly. He lives within the hearts of the Argentinians and the pain of his death can only be similar to losing a father or son.
Tens of thousands of people showed up for his wake in Buenos Aires. Onlookers clashed with the police and a riot broke out. Police and a grieving nation would clash for hours, so close to the man’s coffin that inspired them all to be there.
Some would call it chaos, others would say it was the perfect tribute to their imperfect son.